Dr. Malone explained that a musical gathering in the shape-note tradition is never considered a performance or a rehearsal, but is simply referred to as a "singing." After we practiced reading both major and minor scales using the traditional fa-so-la solfege system, we had our own little singing! Throughout the session, Dr. Malone invited participants to volunteer to lead the group in shape-note songs of their choosing. He explained that the main difference between shape-note conducting and the conducting methods we might be more familiar with is the placement of the ictus of the beat. Generally, the ictus is placed at the bottom of the gesture, but in the shape-note singing tradition, the entirety of the stroke is the beat, and the ictus is at the top. We learned how to show 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 patterns in the shape-note style, and everyone had a chance to practice these gestures as we sang. We had a blast singing together and learning more about the history and traditions of shape-note culture!
-Juliana Joy Child, IC ACDA Treasurer